The Philadelphia Phillies’ postseason preparations are now well underway. After a win against the New York Mets on Sunday, the Phillies magic number is one. This means that any Phillies win or any loss by the Chicago Cubs or Miami Marlins will secure a playoff spot. As things stand, the Phillies are 87-69 and hold a 4 1/2 game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the top NL Wild Card spot. The magic number for the Phillies to clinch that top spot is two. This would give the Phillies the home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card Series. At this point, the Phillies will most likely host the Diamondbacks in an NL Wild Card Series taking place between October 3 and October 5 (if necessary).
Phillies Begin Postseason Preparations
Manager Rob Thomson has lined up the starting rotation in a way that will allow Zack Wheeler to start Game 1 of the postseason on normal rest. Currently, Aaron Nola is in line to start Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series. A potential Game 3 would likely be started by Ranger Suarez or Cristopher Sanchez. Thomson has started the process of moving Michael Lorenzen to the bullpen. Sunday’s game saw Lorenzen record a save. According to Sarah Langs and Elias Sports, Lorenzen is the 10th player since saves became an official stat to throw a no-hitter and record a save in the same season. Putting Lorenzen in this position makes sense because this will be a good role for him in the playoffs.
Players Heating Up
As the Phillies’ postseason preparations continue, some players are stepping up at the right time. One of those players is Nick Castellanos, who played a key role in the Phillies’ playoff run last season. In his last seven games, Castellanos has a .375/.407/1.125 line with five home runs and 11 RBI. The first six games of the stretch saw him put up a .563 wOBA along with a 255 wRC+. In addition, Castellanos has hit a home run in three of his last five games. During this hot streak, he set a new career high for RBI in a season with 106, which also leads the Phillies this season and is fourth in the NL. It is the third season where Castellanos has had at least 100 RBI.
Nick Castellanos last 12 games
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 24, 2023
Another player looking to carry momentum into the postseason is Bryce Harper. During his last seven games, Harper has a .320/.452/.680 line with three home runs and eight RBI. During the first six games of that stretch, he had a .466 wOBA and a 197 wRC+ to add to that. He has also surpassed his home run and RBI totals from last season, now with 20 home runs and 70 RBI. On defense, Harper has adjusted to playing first base and has a .996 fielding percentage at the position this season. Of the positions Harper has played, his best fielding percentage is at first base. It will be determined this upcoming offseason if his move to first base will become permanent.
Stott Reaches Stolen Base Milestone
During Sunday’s game, Bryson Stott recorded his 30th stolen base of the season. With this, Stott becomes the first Phillies second baseman since Juan Samuel in 1987 to have a 30-stolen base season. Along with Samuel and Stott, this has been accomplished by Bill Hallman as well as Al Myers and Ed Delahanty. Those three, however, all accomplished the feat before 1900. During the 1980s, Samuel had a stretch of four consecutive seasons with at least 30 stolen bases. Stott currently leads the Phillies in stolen bases this season, with Trea Turner close behind with 29 steals.
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports